Tamyra Mensah-Stock poses with her medal after the women's freestyle 68kg wrestling final at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 3, 2021 in Tokyo.
Tamyra Mensah-Stock’s interview after winning a gold medal at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 earlier this month was so memorable that people are probably still going to be talking about it years from now.
After beating Nigeria’s Blessing Oborududu in the women’s 68 kg. freestyle wrestling final Mensah-Stock laughed, she cried, she danced and she told the world how much she loved representing the United States. Not long after, the native of Katy, Texas, mentioned that she planned to use a big chunk of her winnings to buy her mother a food truck.
Now, thanks to a San Antonio business that learned about Mensah-Stock and her wish for her mother, Shonda Wells is going to be getting the food truck to end all food trucks. Cruising Kitchens is going to design, build and donate a truck worth $250,000 that will allow Wells to cook and cruise in greater style than Mensah-Stock ever thought possible.
“She is getting hooked up with a truck that I could not even have dreamed of,” Mensah-Stock told TeamUSA.org. “I can barely fathom it. It’s a $250,000 food truck. Like, what can you do with that? I don’t even understand.”
Wells has for many years worked as a certified nursing assistant. It’s demanding work that often requires physically lifting and moving patients and helping them with their daily needs, including dressing and bathing. The work is also tough mentally and emotionally, since many times the patients are older and in failing health.
But Wells always had a passion for cooking, and for the past seven years off-and-on has operated her own barbecue business using a pit she towed behind a truck. Although Houstonians loved it, Mensah-Stock said, Wells struggled to get it going as a full-time venture.
“I could see the success that could come of it, but it wasn’t exactly carried out in the best way,” Mensah-Stock said. “But she wanted it. She wanted it badly.”
Many times, because she didn’t have enough room to store and refrigerate her food, Wells ended up giving it away to the homeless so that it didn’t go to waste. While kind, it wasn’t a great model for financial success.